Thursday, 17 February 2005
In three weeks the West Australian Labor Government has gone from the 42% outsider to the 67% favourite on the Glug WA Election Indicator. It is a dramatic reversal but not completely surprising. I noted back on 28 January that despite the opinion of the bookmakers and the predictions of the pollsters "Governments rarely lose office after a single term and the underdog is the position to be in when campaigning gets underway."
Tuesday, 8 February 2005
No wonder the old fellow refuses to fade away. Gough Whitlam’s dedication to reforming Australia’s system of government to make the states largely redundant has never had such support. The nation’s rulers seem to want to get their hands on everything - from industrial relations, to secondary school examinations, to running public hospitals, to reforming the Senate. It is like Canberra in 1972 all over again.
So there was the revered Labor Leader yesterday endorsing the proposals for a federal takeover of industrial relations. "Liberal Prime Minister John Howard correctly wishes our national parliament to have jurisdiction to make laws with respect to the terms and conditions of industrial employment," Mr Whitlam said in a statement which will be studiously ignored by his successors in the Labor Leadership.
These days it is the so-called conservative side of Australian politics that is the advocate of change and the so-called progressive Left that advocates the status quo. When Whitlam became leader of his Party 40 years ago the Liberal and National Parties were the states rights parties and Labor the centralist reformer. The roles are now reversed.